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In 1998 United States imported more than 70 billion worth of Chinese consumer and industrial goods up from 38 billion in 1994 Topping the list toys footwear electrical goods and all forms of apparel from woven to knits But the days when American consumers could go shopping in 99cents Store or buy a mid-sized Donald Duck stuffed toy for 20 at the Disney Store would be numbered Because as the debate over most-favored-nation MFN status for China heats up in Congress every year consumers wonder whether 2000 could be the last year they could see cheap Made in China goods in the market The math is simple With MFN imports from China have an average tariff of 6 percent Without MFN they could sharply rise--to more than 40 percent on some items Those costs are passed along to consumers What is little understood is that the term MFN is really a misnomer Despite its name Most Favored Nation status is not a privileged status accorded only to close friends It is normal trade relations -- the ordinary tariff treatment United States accord to almost all countries in the world The United States offers MFN or ordinary tariff treatment on a near-universal basis Over 160 countries have MFN trading status with the United States and only six countriesAfghanistan Cambodia Cuba Laos North Korea and SerbiaMontenegroare denied MFN status Bloch 196 Cao 2 I believe that free and fair trade is the foundation for peace and prosperity -- and frequently for democracy as well This belief has been proved by the decision of every US president since normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979 Democrat and Republican alike to extend MFN status to China But there is still much debate over this simply normal tariff status in Congress every year which found to American fundamental national interest Why Possible answers to this question surely would include the requirement of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment a large and growing
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